Photo: Crystal Spring’s Tom McAdams explains the research and development that went into the company’s nipple to New Product Tour panel members Erik Potter, Pat Thome, Joseph Darrington and Aaron Lower.
“It’s hard to get excited about something so simple, but it’s a good idea,” New Product Tour Judge Joseph Darrington says of the Crystal Spring Nipple. “It’s unconventional, but they came up with a good design, good fluid mechanics.”
“As hog production evolves, we see really, really small wean-to-finish pigs, isowean, we get eight-pound pigs coming in (to the barn). We’ve seen different rations, different ingredients coming in, and when you mix water, or too much water, it becomes hard to manage,” says Crystal Spring’s Tom McAdams. The Crystal Spring team went back to work to resolve that challenge. Getting the pigs off to a good start in the first two to three weeks is important, but also, managing that water flow over the life of the animal is essential for the wet/dry feeder’s performance.
“What we found is that if you don’t manage the water properly you turn that feeder into a dry feeder, and you lose all the benefits that you paid for, as well as it might not be enough feed space, so it’s pretty critical to get it right,” McAdams says. Managing water flow to a single wet/dry feeder can be challenging, but managing a consistent water flow over the full length of a barn can be an even bigger challenge, and Crystal Spring set out to resolve those issues.
A two- to three-year project resulted in the development of two different silicone inserts in the nipple unit to adapt it to various water pressures and barn configurations. At 50 pounds per square inch water pressure, the green insert produces a maximum flow of about 4.8 cups per minute, while the orange insert produces a maximum to seven cups per minute.